KristieLynn & Carol Graf

Me and My Papa

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Over the past several years, my Mother-In-Law Carol (she goes by Kitty) and I have been looking into buying a long arm quilting machine in order to assemble our own quilts, both large and small, instead of paying someone else to do the quilting. We belong to a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (Kitty’s home) quilting group, as well as quilt with women near my home in Wake Forest, North Carolina. We really liked the idea of having a longarm machine, but at that time, we knew it was going to be too much for our budget. The HQ Sixteen quilter was the machine we saw most often in the quilting magazine that we picked up. Nothing quite measured up to it though, at least in our minds! We kept looking...
My In-Law's and my family have been through a lot in the last ten years.
From a near fatal accident to recovery from Cancer, my in-laws have been there offering support and guidance. Through the good times and the bad, Kitty and I have always had a major link between us...We love quilting together!
After seeing how much Kitty and I had spent having to have someone else quilt our creations for us, my Father-In-Law Jim (Papa) thought it would be easier and cheaper in the long run to buy us a much smaller quilting machine of our own. Unfortunately, Papa passed away in early 2009, before he could purchase the longarm quilter he had talked about. Within the last year and a half, we both lost him and Kitty was injured in a severe car crash that she is still recovering from. Before he passed, Papa promised that we'd get a longarm machine to quilt with, that he figured he would probably spend around $3000 on.
Several months after Papa passed, Kitty and I were still looking around for a quilting machine. A quilting acquaintance, Donna Sontag, that we had gotten to know over the last 2 years, had recently become a local Handi Quilter (HQ) representative. She invited us to see her HQ Sixteen longarm quilter and check on prices. She also showed us all of the amazing work that we would be able to do with the newer longarm machines. Yet, we didn't realize how expensive they were. We checked around at other retailers and their brand of longarm quilt machines as well. It was important to Kitty that the shop that we would purchase our machine from be close enough to provide instruction on the operation and maintenance of the longarm, as well as give tips and tricks.
Around Christmas of 2009, Kitty and I went to the local fabric store. Guess what?! She was going to buy us the HQ Sixteen quilter! I couldn't believe it. I broke down in tears. When we went to order the HQ Sixteen, our representative let us know that the new HQ18 Avante longarm was going to be coming out soon. Kitty put in our order! I was amazed that we were finally going to have everything that we would need for our quilting. She said that Papa would probably be rolling in his grave for us buying something in, but we'd be thoroughly enjoying it in the meantime! Kitty just laughs when she thinks about writing that check. We have recently received an amazing HQ18 Avante Longarm machine. It is something that we can both get around and remember why it is there (We love you Papa), and know the each quilt produced with the machine has that special thread running through it.
Donna Sontag has been a wonderful representative for HQ! Soon, I'll be taking a free-motion machine quilting class from her, and I can't wait!
I now own an HQ18 Avante Longarm Quilting machine (with HQ Studio Frame) at my home in Wake Forest, NC. We know that Papa’s spirit lives in our HQ18 Avante quilter, because there are times that it just won’t do what we tell it to!

I own the following HQ machines:

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